February 2012

The Beach at Unst, Shetland, Scotland

Two years ago this month I wrote my first State of the Savage post, and it has been a regular feature ever since. I use these posts to pull back the curtain on Traveling Savage and share my thoughts and proto-plans, to give you a taste of what’s been and what’s yet to come. I definitely don’t show as much appreciation to you for reading as I feel, so let me blunt: THANK YOU for reading and for your support. It means a lot in this wild and uncertain world of full-time blogging.

Perhaps a little retrospective is in order because a lot has changed since February 2010. Back then Traveling Savage was a mere two months old, and my plan to leave the corporate world to travel the real world was a scant week older than my blog. The entire idea was hush-hush as Sarah and I bided our time… Read more...

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Aberdeen Architecture on a Gorgeous Day

On seven trips to Scotland spanning nearly five months of time, I’ve completely missed Scotland’s third largest city, Aberdeen, the “Silver City,” save for two paltry nights. This situation is largely a result of Aberdeen’s geographical position in the far northeast of the country, an area that I typically skip as I round the corner westward toward Speyside. Come to think of it, a city focus is largely missing here on Traveling Savage – excluding Edinburgh; in addition to Aberdeen, what about Dundee? Perth? Inverness? More Glasgow? The road goes ever on and I’ll be sure to keep this in mind for future trips, but allow me to rectify this void, at least slightly, with today’s post.

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Peering out my open window above The Mash Tun and across an emerald park glowing in the sun, the rippling band of the River Spey slides past Aberlour. The Spey pulses through the heart of Scotland’s whisky country, its pure waters the lifeblood of salmon and distillers alike. A welcome breeze chatters in the trees and rings against the cables of the pedestrian suspension bridge to the north. Fishermen work the beats up and down the river and tiny, black mayflies swarm in the shade. My footsteps crackle on the gravel path before I find a seat on the soft riverbank and inhale the aromas of sunlit grass and water. My pulse slows. I am repeating the past again, when my brother and I sat in the same spot two years earlier. Read more...

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The Symbol of Braveheart

If there were any questions about whether or not I’m a card-carrying nerd, let this post dispel those doubts. I admit it. I embrace it! I may or may not be a member of the ultra-secret Illuminerdi, but perhaps you could have guessed that by now. Fantasy worlds have always been my favorite places to travel to, so I think it’s time I share some of my favorite travel soundtracks on Trackpacking.

Music is a powerful way to alter the experience of travel. Before every trip, I spend hours choosing musicians and making playlists for my iPhone so that I have the tools to enhance and change moods. Read more...

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The Cask & Barrel (Southside) Glowing at Night

Edinburgh’s Old Town captures the lion’s share of visitors’ attention, and for good reason: it’s a living slice of medieval Europe so evocative even our fantasies struggle to match it (read: Harry Potter). One of the beautiful aspects of Edinburgh is that while the Old Town makes an immediate impact other neighborhoods ooze with interest and grow to rival the heart of Auld Reekie. If you give them the chance, that is. Edinburgh’s Southside is the perfect example.

A pub crawl is the best way to get the lay of the land. The crawl gives you a chance to walk the neighborhood, check out the local drinking holes, and pick up on the ambient vibe. Read more...

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